Letitia James presses MSG on facial recognition technology

State Attorney General Letitia James speaks during Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the National Action Network’s House of Justice Headquarters.

Lev Radin | Light flare | Getty Images

New York Attorney General Letitia James wants to hear from Madison Square Garden Entertainment Corporation about the company’s reported use of facial recognition technology in its venues.

MSG Entertainment allegedly used technology to identify and deny entry to multiple attorneys affiliated with law firms involved in ongoing litigation involving the company, including those with subscriptions. According to a letter she sent to the company on Tuesday, about 90 law firms have been affected by the policy.

Preventing attorneys from accessing MSG Entertainment sites due to ongoing litigation could violate local, state and federal human rights laws, James wrote.

MSG Entertainment owns and operates venues across New York City, including Radio City Music Hall, Madison Square Garden and the Hulu Theater.

“MSG Entertainment cannot fight its legal battles in its own arenas,” James said Wednesday in a statement announcing his letter.

“Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall are world-renowned venues and should treat all patrons who have purchased tickets with fairness and respect,” she said. “Anyone with a ticket to an event should not be concerned about being wrongfully refused entry based on their appearance, and we urge MSG Entertainment to reverse this policy.”

Madison Square Garden Entertainment responded to the letter later Wednesday.

“To be clear, our policy does not unlawfully prohibit anyone from entering our premises and we do not intend to deter attorneys from representing plaintiffs in litigation against us. We simply exclude a small percentage of attorneys only during active litigation,” a spokesperson said. said in a statement. “Most importantly, even to suggest that someone is excluded based on the protected classes identified in state and federal civil rights laws is ridiculous. Our policy has never applied to attorneys representing plaintiffs who allege harassment gender or employment discrimination.”

James in the letter also wrote that the facial recognition software used by MSG Entertainment may not be entirely reliable and could lead to instances of discrimination and bias, especially against people of color and women.

The company has said in the past that it complies with applicable laws, including those involving discrimination.

Late last year, Kelly Conlon and her daughter were denied entry to Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular after being identified by facial recognition software. Conlon is a partner at the law firm Davis, Saperstein and Solomon, which has been involved for years in personal injury litigation against a restaurant under MSG Entertainment.

“MSG has instituted a straightforward policy that prohibits attorneys pursuing active litigation against the company from attending events at our sites until that litigation is resolved,” a spokesperson for MSG Entertainment told AFP. era. “While we understand that this policy is disappointing to some, we cannot ignore the fact that litigation creates an inherently adverse environment.”